Our journalists are not being arrested! ”- said Bundes Chancellor Angela Merkel to media representatives last year. The categorical tone of her statement did not raise any objections. There are really no facts of detaining journalists. The statement of the head of government was made not in connection with the situation in Russia, but with an eye to another country - Turkey. The wide resonance was caused by the imprisonment of a German journalist, a Turkish-born Deniz Yudel, in the investigative prison in Istanbul. He spent about a year behind bars. 11 more citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany were deprived of liberty, to whom the Turkish authorities filed trumped-up charges of terrorist propaganda. The wave of protests in Germany and criticism from official Berlin have sharply worsened German-Turkish relations. The Recep Tayyip Erdogan administration responded by warning, in particular, Turkish journalists about reprisals that they might be subjected to in Germany. Then Merkel calmed down the journalists: “We have freedom of opinion and principles of the rule of law. And we are proud of it! ”
Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press, as well as freedom of professional journalistic activities, such as artistic creativity, are among the main (“unchangeable”) rights and guaranteed by the fifth article of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. It also guarantees the absence of censorship. The constitutional provisions are supported by a number of laws that ensure the freedom to disseminate information, issue newspapers or broadcast products, and Internet publications. Free access to information and protection of sources are provided. Journalists in Germany are extremely difficult to bring to court even as witnesses, since they are subject to the right to refuse evidence (this is also a guarantee for the protection of information sources and the freedom of professional activity). In a word, it is impossible to imagine a journalist or the media as a victim if not direct, then at least indirect pressure from law enforcement or security agencies.
The failed accusations against the master of investigative journalism Günter Walraf, who, in order to infiltrate his environment, were presented by an official of the departments, including the “ministerial adviser Krefer from the civilian commission of the Ministry of the Interior”. His actions found signs of fraud with misappropriation of false state competencies (this is an article of the Criminal Code). But the Frankfurt District Court dismissed Wallraf from responsibility, stressing that the principle of the freedom to receive information makes the methods of its receipt acceptable.
He was still imprisoned, but not in Germany, but in the Greek town of Koridalos, for distributing texts criticizing the military junta in this country (it was in 1974). Only with the fall of the junta, a German journalist was released.
The example of Wallraf and other investigative journalists shows that this is not a toothless public, and you should not get involved with it! The press has been and remains a tool for high-profile revelations capable of overthrowing the government - or at least the government "pillars." Thus, the Prime Minister of Bad-Württemberg Erwin Teifel resigned after journalists unearthed a story of a fight at a government banquet, which was arranged by one of the ministers of his cabinet. Federal Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg lost his post after posting plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation. A similar story - with the former Minister of Science and Education Annette Shavan. Federal President Christian Wolfe flew from his post when the press publicized his dubious “financial friendship” with film producer David Grenewold.
So journalists in Germany can really remove from ministerial posts. And vice versa - does not work.
It did not work this time with Russian journalist Ivan Golunov. Under pressure from the public and Golunov’s colleagues, his case was closed, and the police were detained against him.